blm riots protests
© Screenshot/YouTube
The first speaker former actress Eva Longoria introduced at the Democratic National Convention in August 2020 was Muriel Bowser, the Democrat mayor of Washington, D.C. Longoria referenced the clearing of a street in front of the White House earlier that summer, an operation the media had repeatedly falsely characterized as the violent removal of peaceful protesters with tear gas for the sole purpose of a photo opportunity for President Donald Trump.

"When peaceful protesters were teargassed across from the White House, our next speaker stood up, stood strong and turned that place into the Black Lives Matter Plaza in their honor. Please welcome Mayor Muriel Bowser," Longoria said.

Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser
© Lorie Shaull/Wikimedia Commons
Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser
Amazingly, new reports confirm it was Bowser — not Trump — who teargassed the protesters a few blocks away from the White House on the evening in question, that the protests had repeatedly devolved into violence and arson, and that the clearing was done for major security concerns and not a photo opportunity. For more than a year, Bowser allowed Trump to take the blame for what her police forces had done.

In her nationally broadcast speech, Bowser inaccurately called the violent riots — marked by widespread looting, arson of historic buildings, arson of White House buildings, and assaults on scores of police officers — safe and peaceful. Then she blamed Trump for her own police force's teargassing of protesters.

"[W]hile we were peacefully protesting, Donald Trump was plotting. He stood in front of one of our most treasured houses of worship and held a Bible for a photo op. He sent troops in camouflage into our streets. He sent tear gas into the air and federal helicopters too. I knew if he did this to DC, he would do it to your city or your town, and that's when I said enough," she said.

But it was Bowser who "did this to DC," not Trump.

For what it's worth, the Metropolitan Police Department Bowser oversees claimed it teargassed rioters who had injured cops by throwing an incendiary device at them.

The reports come more than a year after the corporate press, other Democrats, and even some anti-Trump Republicans had filled news cycles with outrage over Trump allegedly teargassing peaceful protesters for a photo op. For example:
biden tweet trump teargas lafayette park
© Joe Biden/Twitter
npr tear gas trump lafayette park tweet
© NPR/Twitter
The hysterical reaction from anti-Trump forces contributed to a widespread breakdown in law and order throughout the summer, as some government officials feared media pushback to actions that might limit looting, arson, assault, and murder. If protecting the White House from violent mobs was considered unacceptable, what hope did small business owners in mid-size cities have that their lives and property might be protected from destruction?

Other government officials, such as Bowser, demanded there be no federal law enforcement or military presence in their cities.

Bowser, who received accolades and prominent attention for her role in perpetuating the false claim that Trump — not her own police — had teargassed protesters, would continue to play a role in the breakdown of law and order. One day before a mob of Trump supporters breached the U.S. Capitol, Bowser emphasized in a letter to the Department of Justice that she was in control of the situation and did not want assistance from federal law enforcement.
washington bowser police stand down order letter

Bowser's letter refusing Federal assistance
"To be clear, the District of Columbia is not requesting other federal law enforcement personnel and discourages any additional deployment without immediate notification to, and consultation with, MPD if such plans are underway," Bowser wrote in a letter to acting U.S. Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, acting Secretary of Defense Chris Miller, and Secretary of the Army Ryan D. McCarthy.

A Senate report on the policing failures on the day of the riot at the U.S. Capitol specifically cited public pushback against military and federal law enforcement's role in quelling riots in summer 2020. The Army had previously noted the "considerable scrutiny" it had received for flying medical evacuation helicopters near crowds of protesters.

"McCarthy noted that the concern about the perception of troops on American streets was discussed during the summer of 2020 by all key decision makers, including the Secretary of Defense, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, the Army Chief of Staff, the Chief of the National Guard Bureau, the Deputy Secretary of Defense, and the General Counsels," according to the Senate report.

According to an Army report, following the June riot response in D.C., Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and McCarthy "determined that any future requests from civil authorities for [DC National Guard] support during planned protests required thorough scrutiny by both of them to ensure that the use of the National Guard was necessary; and that if so, the mission was narrowly tailored and appropriate for military forces."

Another issue that led to policing and security delays and failures, according to the Senate report, was a letter orchestrated by former House Conference Chair Liz Cheney, a Republican congresswoman from Wyoming. She secretly organized the signing by ten former secretaries of defense, including her father, of a letter headlined "All 10 living former defense secretaries: Involving the military in election disputes would cross into dangerous territory."

"Mr. McCarthy explained that "[the] hyperbole . . . about martial law and [the] 10 Sec Def letter" were "discussed in the entire Pentagon," according to the Senate report explaining the Pentagon's response in January. Worries about the public arguments advanced by Bowser and Cheney's group made quick response to a deteriorating condition more difficult, according to the report.

Former Trump aide Stephen Miller wrote, "Now that the IG report has thoroughly debunked the Lafayette Lie, one must ask: how many riots subsequently spiraled out of control elsewhere because local authorities embraced the Left's Lafayette narrative — and did not deploy the rapid initial force necessary to assert control?"

It's a sobering but important question to answer about the dangerous propaganda spewed by the corrupt press and other Democrats after billions of dollars in destruction, dozens of killings, a ripping of the fabric of society, and a general breakdown of law and order.
Mollie Ziegler Hemingway is a senior editor at The Federalist. She is Senior Journalism Fellow at Hillsdale College and a Fox News contributor. She is the co-author of Justice on Trial: The Kavanaugh Confirmation and the Future of the Supreme Court. Follow her on Twitter at @mzhemingway